By Christian Thompson
B Chord Brewing opened at the base of the Blue Ridge last November and it has quickly established a niche as a gathering spot for the rural community and visitors seeking an escape from hectic suburban life.
It doesn’t take long into one’s first visit to B Chord to realize that the brewery’s picturesque location is far from its only charm. For starters, the beer is tasty, with an IPA series that begs you try them all. Additionally, the brewery possesses a professional stage setup that’s impossible to ignore. Live music is something B Chord is keen on turning into a key attraction and the brewery is already off to a promising start.
Every Tuesday evening at 5:30, B Chord puts on Neighborhood Night, a weekly celebration of local music and culture that features discounted pints and an open jam session. Erik Burnham, a musician who’s been a staple of the Loudoun music scene for more than a decade, started the event and hosts the jam every week.
Burnham grew up in Round Hill and said Neighborhood Night was inspired in part by the Round Hill Bluegrass Jam, a monthly event that used to take place at the town’s since-closed Old Furniture Store. But a lot of his motivation to organize the event stems from his passion for local music and his desire to see it flourish.
Anyone with an instrument can show up to play at Neighborhood Night. Burnham said that teaching newer musicians is one of the event’s major goals and he likes to make the environment as inviting and comfortable for newcomers as possible. Bluegrass jams are Burnham’s forte, but he said that jazz and old-time folk also are regularly featured and the jam’s open nature means that practically anything goes.
“The jams are mostly acoustic, which makes it convenient,” Burnham said. “We haven’t had anyone show up with an electric guitar and an amp, but I wouldn’t turn them away. Whatever you want to bring to the table is good.”
Burnham said the turnout for Neighborhood Night has only gotten better since it began a few months back. He’s looking forward to the warmer months of spring and summer and envisions separate jams taking place inside and out when the weather is nice.
In addition to Neighborhood Night every Tuesday, B Chord features an Irish music jam every Sunday. And Burnham has even more plans for highlighting Loudoun’s fertile music scene.
Beginning next month, Burnham will be organizing a regular event called the Dynamic Duo Series. The event will bring two members of different local bands together for a collaborative, improvisational musical experience. The first event in the series is planned for Thursday, April 5, at B Chord and will feature mandolin players Danny Knicely and Chris Henry.
Celebrating community and fostering music and the arts seem to be what drives Burnham to put these events together.
“Why not cultivate culture in one’s own backyard?” Burnham asks during our discussion. It’s a question that doesn’t require an answer and any outlet for Loudoun residents to play and listen to music, as well as build artistic relationships, couldn’t be more welcome.
Neighborhood Night takes place at B Chord Brewery 5:30-9 p.m. Tuesdays. More information on the brewery can be found on its Facebook page.